Byte Me Article 451 – What is a backup

What is a backup

I have now written 450 Byte Me Articles over the last 10 years with the first article being published on the 6th of Feb 2010.  I see that during this time I have covered the topic of data backups nearly 20 times, however at the risk of annoying regular readers I also see that it needs to be touched on again.  I say this because the number of people that we are still getting through the shop without any backup is really concerning.

This is a topic that is not confined to home users.  We get a surprising number of new business customers that don’t have any backup, or don’t have a recent backup or have not tested their backup system to see if it will be of any use.  We often come across backup systems (even ones that have cost thousands to implement) that are failing to work for various reasons. 

These high-end backup systems can all report backup problems or failed backups, however often the techs that setup them up neglect to tick the few extra boxes required for this reporting function.  It is not unheard of to see a business completely close its doors due to the inability to recover from a data loss issue.  On the home front it is quite common to see tears and deep despair due to the loss of precious photos or documents.

Most certainly, some of the resistance to having a proper backup system is certainly due to a lack of understanding of the topic, so we should immediately touch on this.  A backup system is needed if you create a file of any importance.  This file may be a photo, a video, a document or spread sheet, an email or a database.  Here the database could be an accounting package, a customer database or even an inventory of stock or parts.

When we create this file, it is stored on our PC on an internal drive in an electronic format.  This proves convenient as we can then manipulate this file with changes or additions as well as being able to print it to paper or share it with an acquaintance via email.  These features of convenience can then lead to problems due to the very fact that the original file can be changed.

A virus can modify our file beyond recognition or use, we can delete the file accidentally, the drive that the file is on can mechanically or electronically fail – or the PC can be stolen, flooded or burnt!  No matter which way you look at this it becomes obvious that if any of these files are important, then you should have a ‘backup’ copy.  Luckily making a backup copy can be once a proper backup system is in place can be exceedingly easy.

On the flip side, if you don’t have a well setup backup system, making a backup copy of your important files can be likened to splitting the atom.  As an example, there are numerous external backup drive manufacturers such as Seagate & Western Digital that offer free backup software that I would have trouble setting up and using.  If a backup system is not simple and quick to use then people won’t use it.

We had a backup system developed 20 years ago to my own specifications that we have kept updated to the latest versions of Windows that costs $140 and works a treat.  Next week we will look at the exact features of that system and hopefully put this topic to bed for another 6-12 months. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 07 49 222 400.

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